A journalese favorite, especially in headlines, is “grill.” Whenever someone is questioned, he or she is grilled. It brings on imagines of 1930s films, with a suspect sitting under a single light bulb surrounded by burly cops wearing shoulder holsters and snarling (burly cops never talked, they snarled): “So you won’t talk, eh????” But now, any question, polite or not, is a grilling.
An example is a New York Times story in The Boston Globe Nov. 9, 2017, about two top environmental post nominees appearing in a “testy” Senate hearing. The headline: “Environmental nominees grilled.” One is connected to the coal industry, which should have called for a more realistic headline, such as: “Trump nominee grilled over coal.”
An obscure rule of journalism forbids reporting of “grilling” by journalists. Instead, they ask tough, deep-digging, hardball questions.
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